I have lived long enough to know what that hard to swallow feeling in the back of my throat means. It means that while I feel okay at the time, within hours I'm going to die.
Well, I know I won't die. But the sweet release of death might be better than the impending sickness that throaty feeling brings. Ahh the throaty feeling. Harbinger of empty tissue boxes.
Three weeks ago, I got that very throaty feeling. But it was worse than normal. And it got even worse than that. Pretty soon I could feel a lump on the outside of my throat. That was not a good sign. I called my mother, since she has four kids and has thus heard of every possible ailment. My mother knows so much about medical symptoms, I expect to see an episode of House where she bursts in and corrects him.
My mother diagnosed me with swollen glands and said I should see a doctor. After spending no less than twenty minutes trying to figure out what emergency care center took my health plan, I drove over to the nearest one. The hospital closest to me does have emergency care, but it's for members only. Which was a nice reminder that I live in Los Angeles.
Luckily, the doctor I went to saw me right away. And not so luckily, the doctor diagnosed me with pharyngitis, an ancient Egyptian disease wherein kings couldn't speak.
Okay, so pharyngitis is really just a throat infection, typically picked up due to overwork and lack of sleep. I cancelled all my shows for a week, made a new rule to avoid morning radio, and started taking amoxicillin. Within a few days, I was okay again. And the throaty feeling was gone.
Imagine my surprise when less than a week later, I felt the same throaty feeling. This time it was right before I had to fly across country for a month of shows. So I went to a doctor in West Virginia and was diagnosed with a SECOND case of pharyngitis. Apparently, it's very easy to catch right after you've had it once, especially when you've watched The Mummy Returns.
The fun part about flying on anti-biotics is that the drug scanners see traces of them on your belongings. But the guy running the scanners hinted that it'd be okay if I were on other types of less legal drugs. Really. He said "whatever you're into" and winked at me. The guy protecting us from international terrorism reminded me of the pothead on my freshman floor.
At the doctor, I was prescribed a new drug called omnicef. Which, in addition to being a powerful anti-biotic, is also great charity that kids raise money for on Halloween. I was almost prescribed augmentin, but the pills were too big to swallow with the throaty feeling and I didn't want to risk suspension by Major League Baseball. Okay, I know augmentin is another anti-biotic, but it sounds like something that makes your forearms big or that comic book villains give to their army of super soldiers.
The fun part about omnicef is that my insurance covered part of the cost. That's right what cold have been $95 was a mere $86. Whew. Glad I had insurance. The doctor told me I need to finish taking the medicine even after I felt better. I assured her there'd be no problem with that, since the medicine costs more than $4 per pill. That's almost as much as the guy at the airport is paying for his.
So now it's a few days later and I'm feeling better, and I've got half the pills left. I'm a bit worried that a few days after I finish the pills, I'll come down with a third throat infection. But if I do, maybe they could put me on something that could help me hit 73 home runs in a single season.
What's really important is that my throat is seemingly all better now and I can finally sleep through the night again. And that I've never actually seen The Mummy Returns.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of the Student Body Shots books, which are available at SteveHofstetter.com and bookstores everywhere. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.